Robert McPherson

The tale of Bob McPherson is one of the saddest of all Scottish, international footballers, with in the end not even the game able to save him. It starts with an illegitimate birth. His surname then was his mother's, Easdon. He had McPherson and Cochran siblings. It included a marriage, where only now was he registered as a McPherson, his father given as a Robert, a Blacksmith, and which ended in break-up. And it was brought to an end with a probable suicide. In 1921 at the age of sixty-two he simply rowed out to sea from Saltcoats and neither rowed nor swam back, his body found later on the beach. 

Bob McPherson was born in Barrhead in 1858 and was brought by his mother and grandparents, she working as a Steam-Loom Weaver. And it was into the textile trade that Bob would also go. At twenty-three he was working as a Calico-Loom Weaver but by then having already played for local club Arthurlie as a forward for two years and and with an international cap to be awarded the following season. Moreover  it would be against England, in the 5-1 home victory at Hampden in a powerful team that had the Andrews, Watson and McIntyre, at full-back, Charles Campbell and Peter Miller at half-back, an otherwise all Queen's Park forward-line, and in which he scored the third goal. Yet he never played for Scotland again, the closest to it being as a reserve in 1884, Willie McKinnon of Dumbarton then preferred, he consigned to his club-side with a few exceptions. 

Bob's involvement with Arthurlie had begun at twenty-one in 1879 with selection for Renfrewshire that same year and coincided with the gradual rise of the club. In that first year it had reached the third round of the Scottish Cup. In both 1881-82 and 1882-83 it was the Quarter-Finals. And that involvement ended with his retirement in 1887 and mirrored its decline. In 1886-7 Arthurlie's Cup-exit was in the First Round. Meanwhile, in 1882, as well the cap, he had also been in the Scotch Counties team and in 1884 he guested for Third Lanark in its replay of the Glasgow Charity Cup, although it did not go well. The Thirds had a defensive night-mare, having drawn 1-1 at the first asking they now shipped eight with no reply. 

On retirement Bob would wed, he recorded in 1887 now as a Calico Printer. His bride was a Barrhead-girl, Margaret Kilgour. However, the marriage clearly did not work. There were no children. There was an acrimonious separation, with by 1901 the pair living apart, although interesting both remained in Barrhead, she boarding with Easdons and he with Cochrans, as for him would still be the case a decade later. And  he would still recorded as boarding in the town when in September 1921 he met his end off the Ayrshire coast.

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